Two inspirational speakers provided food for thought between mouthwatering courses of a Southern Entrepreneurs Dinner at Oakley Hall Hotel near Basingstoke last night (March 10) as they revealed their own proven individual recipes for entrepreneurial success.
Mike Clare, founder of leading British bed and mattress retailer Dreams, and Nicola Murphy, CEO of award-winning content marketing agency The River Group, took vastly different routes to achieve their business ambitions yet both described similar qualities of drive and determination that underpinned their entrepreneurial journeys.
Long hours of hard work and the ability to overcome business hardships and hurdles were also common features of their self-made success stories. As Clare said: “If it was easy you would have loads of winners. Quitters never win; winners never quit.”
Clare and Murphy’s presentations enthralled and entertained 50 peer group business owners invited to the networking evening by the sponsors of the Southern Entrepreneurs awareness campaign, EY, UBS, Osborne Clarke and The Business Magazine.
Among their helpful advice and surprising business revelations Clare spoke about business common sense, the simplicity of Dreams business scale-up, and the importance of concentrating on the ‘3 Ps’ – Perseverance, People and Passion.
Murphy revealed that she started The River Group in 1994 with three colleagues as a contract publishing business from a Soho basement. They clubbed together to buy two computers and won their first money-spinning contract with a major-name retailer on the back of a bizarre marketing presentation and a box of chocolates.
Coincidentally, both Clare and Murphy have now sold their companies to US fund managers Sun Capital Partners (Murphy is still currently CEO of River, mid-way through a three-year earn-out arrangement).
And both still have their keen entrepreneurial drive.
For example, since selling Dreams in 2008, Clare has turned his leisuretime interest in old and intriguing buildings into a thriving business by buying the Solent forts, Scottish castles, Welsh chateau and Benedictine abbey that he visited.
His new business – AmaZing Venues – has renovated and upgraded them to become luxury locations for special occasions and corporate activities.
* To learn more details of how Clare and Murphy achieved their entrepreneurial successes, read the full report in our Thames Valley and Solent editions for April.